Keno Rules

How to play Keno Games, Keno Bets & Strategies

   

Keno Rules

Keno is a lottery or Bingo style game, invented in China, offered by many casinos and also in some state lotteries in the USA. Keno is an entirely luck based game, where players hope to match their pre-selected numbers with randomly drawn ones.

  
How to play Keno

  
In Keno the player picks as few as three or as many as ten numbers (depending on where you play) and marks those picks on a card, picks must be in the range of 1-80. Twenty balls are then picked from a hopper containing eighty balls and prizes are won based on how many picks match the drawn numbers.

  
A Keno hopper looks is in many ways similar to the machines used to pick lottery numbers. Numbered balls sit in a clear bubble being pushed around by an air current. Occasionally balls are blown through small holes, and those that are blown out first are the winning numbers.

  
In online casinos a random number generator is used to select the winning numbers.

  
Keno games in casinos typically run every 20 minutes or so. Runners, spaced around the casino, pick up cards from players and bring back winnings before offering fresh cards.

  
Keno games often offer huge top prizes for matching all of your picks. In a ‘ten spot’ game where the player picks ten numbers the top prize may be $1,000,000 or more; such prizes are possible because the odds against winning are astronomical, comparable to the odds of winning the lottery.

  
Online Keno

  
Due to its enduring popularity Keno has of course found its way to online casinos. The online version is identical to its casino cousin, except players simply click their desired numbers instead of marking a card.

  
Online Keno may also allow players to pick how many numbers you want. In a live casino the picks are generally fixed (for example you may have to pick ten numbers); in online Keno you can keep picking, an updated prize list will appear based on your number of picks.

   

Keno Layout

  
Keno prizes and house edge

  
Keno generally has a very high house edge compared to other popular casino games. Typical games in Las Vegas or online casinos may have a house edge of 30% or more. Bear in mind however that the low entry fee, typically $1, and slow pace of the game mean that you may lose less than playing a game with higher limits and a smaller house edge.
Prizes in Keno depend on both the entry fee and number of picks. Below we show two prize tables, one from a ‘four spot’ game and the other from an ‘eight spot’ variety, both from Microgaming, as an example of how prizes vary with picks. The Keno games you play online may have slightly different prizes, as individual operators choose the prize structure.

  
Four Spot Prizes

  

Catch 

Prize

 0

0

1

 0.5

 2

2

 3

6

 4

 12

    
Eight Spot Prizes

    

Catch 

Prize

 0

 0

 1

 0.5

 2

 0.5

 3

 1

 4

 3

 5

 6

 6

 19

 7

 90

 8

 720

 

       

Multi race Keno

  
Some Keno games have a multi race option where, instead of filling out a ticket after every game, you pay for several games up front and use the same numbers in each. If you wish to play multi race Keno then make it clear to the runner when you enter. You may also be able to play multiple games in online Keno; by looking at the available options.

  
Keno strategies

  
Many players enjoy making picks using some form of system, such as picking numbers that have recently appeared, those that haven’t appeared, favourite numbers and as many other methods as you can think of!

  
For the record, none of these strategies make you any more or less likely to win. Numbers in Keno are picked randomly; with no account given to past results. That said, if you enjoy playing Keno a certain way there is no reason to do otherwise, the game is entirely based on luck and one pick is just as valid as the next.

  
History of Keno

  
One (extremely unlikely) tale about the origin of Keno states that it was invented in Ancient China. A local warlord was hesitant to raise further taxes upon the people of a city, he then invented Keno and used the profits for the game to build the Great Wall of China.

  
The name Keno itself derives from the French word quine meaning ‘five each’. It is first documented in modern times as having been legalised by the Portuguese colonial government of Macau, which permitted a state lottery in 1847. According to some sources the results were taken from urban areas to the countryside by carrier pigeon, leading to the Chinese name ‘baige piao’ or white dove ticket.

  
The game travelled to the USA in the 19th century, as workers migrated to work on the railways. By 1866 it was already a smash hit in Houston, Texas under the modern name Keno. 
    

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